Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe

Yesterday afternoon I had a late lunch/early dinner with a few friends at Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe in Boyle Heights. I haven’t been here since I was in high school and had completely forgotten about its existence until Dana suggested we meet here.

They are known for their generous proportions and reasonable prices (according to Yelp but I disagree), but please don’t walk in thinking you are going to be eating something cataclysmically (can I add -ally to the end of cataclysmic? Whatever.) delicious. You will be disappointed.

As you can probably tell from the pics below. We ordered way too much food.

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Now I’m craving Michoacan.

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TOAST Bakery Cafe

Nasya, Susan and I had brunch today at Toast. There was a bit of a wait to get seated, but once you place your order, the food came out pretty quickly. Although, I did think it was a little odd that all of the food was served before our ice lattes were ready. Oh and I really really needed my latte to be served first. I think I may have developed a minor addiction to caffeine.

I ordered the eggs florentine with potatoes, which was little on the bland side, but that’s what all the condiments at our table was for right? Lots of ketchup, some black pepper and tapatio made it all better. Well…a little better.

I didn’t try Nasya’s omelette but I believed I heard her order the protein omelette which came with potatoes and a wheat bagel. It looked very well put together don’t you think?

Susan ordered the coffee cake French toast. I kinda liked it. It wasn’t too sweet and I didn’t feel like I packed on 10lbs after eating a slice.

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I wish the parking situation in this area was better. All these available parking spaces on the street but I couldn’t park there because I didn’t have a permit. So I had to pay $5 for public parking. Bugger.

La Grande Orange Cafe

Jen and I met up for dinner on Friday night at La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena. LGO had over 500 reviews on Yelp and an average rating of 4 stars. *sigh* Yelp reviews failed us again. The food was mediocre and over priced. The only two things that I actually liked was my Orangina, which came from a bottle, and the chips that came with the ceviche. There was an olive oil cake on the menu that we wanted to order for dessert, but after the disastrous appetizers and entree, we lost confidence in the quality of their desserts. I will not be eating at LGO again.

Orangina with the Timeline

Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon - too much mustard?

Ceviche - Bleh. The huge chunks of avocado and shrimp doesn't fit on the chips.

Mac n' Cheese

Famous Short Ribs?

Cool huh? The only cool thing at LGO.

My Three Favorite Meals in Austin

Last week I visited Austin with a Evey and Jen. We did some touristy stuff, window shopped a bit and ate a lot. People in Austin seemed to be really nice and laid back, which meant that everything moved a bit slow, even the cars. The squirrels and pigeons have no sense of self preservation. What kind of squirrel stops and stares down the car that is heading straight toward it? One that was born and raised in Austin. I learned that I don’t care for Tex Mex but I love the barbecue. Texas does their meat right. We tried out quite a few places, but there were only three that we really liked.

On the top of our list was Rudy’s BBQ. If you ever make it out to Rudy’s, you have to order the extra moist brisket, the ribs and the cream corn. If we hadn’t already ordered so much meat, we probably would have ordered the turkey too.

Baby Back Ribs

Extra Moist Brisket

Cream Corn

Our second favorite was our lunch stop at Leaning Pear in Wimberley. Healthy, fresh and delicious.

Pumpkin perhaps? I forget, but it was good.

Chicken Pot Pie

Green Tea Panna Cotta w/ Hibiscus Poached Pears

Ancho Dark Chocolate Terrine w/ Cinnamon Creme Anglaise

I don’t know about Evey and Jen, but my third favorite was our lunch at South Congress Cafe. My crab enchiladas was spicy and delicious.

Crab Enchiladas

The one thing that I couldn’t appreciate was the Tex Mex. Maybe I ordered the wrong thing, but the one taco that I had from Torchy’s was just too overly salty and oily. I probably should have ordered a breakfast taco or something.

The Democrat - Fail!

I would go back to Austin just for the brisket and cream corn from Rudy’s. I don’t know how I’m ever going to eat barbecue in California again.

The Escondite

Lena and I had dinner at The Escondite, a gem of a bar/restaurant that serves delicious food in downtown LA. When looking for this gem, one must keep an eye out for a lighted blue arrow. Yes. The entrance is through a big parking lot and guess what? Parking is FREE! Amazing right? In downtown? That’s what I thought. After reading a few of the Yelp reviews, I knew we had to order the buffalo mushrooms and the Capt Kangaroo burger, which comes with their fresh cut fries. I would have also liked to try the French Toast tequila, but unfortunately, tequila and I, we are not friends. We also ordered the Gavin Macleod burger, which turned out to be one too many burgers. I truly felt like I wasted my half of that burger.

Buffalo Mushrooms

Capt Kangaroo (egg over easy, hash browns, canadian bacon, cheese, and cholula)

Gavin Macleod (crumbled blue cheese, mushrooms & A-1)

I’m going to be sad when The Escondite gets so popular that the wait is going to be an hour long. Maybe I should go back next week? Would that be too soon?

After dinner, Lena and I went to Urthe Caffe for some dessert and caffeine. According to Lena, the Duchess of Hazelnut cake (I think that’s what it was called) that we ordered tasted like a giant Ferrero Rocher. I have no complaints there. I love Ferrero Rocher. I love Urthe. Oh and I really love that they have free parking too.

Duchess of Hazelnut Cake

Japanese Tea Latte

I felt really fat when I woke up this morning, but the food from last night was worth it. Now I think I’m going to go lift some weights or something.